THON Tales 2014: A multimedia blog | Sunday

Story posted February 23, 2014 in News, THON 2014 by College of Communications

THON – the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon – Last year the event raised more than $12 million to benefit the families of children with cancer. Each February the dance marathon fills the Bryce Jordan Center at University Park with 15,000 people for 46 hours. These are some of their stories from Sunday.

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The countdown from ground level (and some closing thoughts)

After spending the entire weekend working for THON, Rules and Regulations Pass Team Captain got to walk onto the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center for a close to front row view as the fund-raising total was revealed. She brought her smartphone. Here's what she saw.

After Caldwell returned home she sat down to reflect on her experience this weekend.

(View a high definition replay from the THON telecast.)

~ By Jill Caldwell

Free ride

The Centre Area Transportation Authority(CATA) provides 24-hour blue and white bus service over THON weekend each year. Kimberly Stogdill, a CATA bus driver, has driven on THON weekend for the past seven years, and she has signed up to drive extra shifts several times. She works hard to raise awareness of the special 24-hour bus service by collaborating with Penn State students to create a promotional music video. See the video here

~ By Abigail Johnson

Sights and sounds

THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. THON began in 1977, and since has raised more than $114 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. 

~ By Nicholas Veres

Fit to dance

Harrison Wieder went through a lot to prepare for 46-straight hours of dancing at THON. When he found out he’d be a dancer, a friend of his recommended he undergo Advocare’s 24-Day Challenge, a bodily cleansing regimen that included taking supplements, giving up his old eating (and drinking) habits, and following a strict cardio-workout program.  Along with more than 700 other Penn State students, Harrison made sure he’d be ready to get his groove on for almost two days straight. Now, he’s in the best shape of his life.

~ By Rainier Lopez

Me to we

Daily Collegian senior columnist Steve Petrella wrote an opinion piece in early February. The article highlighted the use of social media to promote THON and how students tend to become self-righteous about the deeds they are doing. Petrella offered advice on how to change student’s attitudes on THON from “me” to “we.” 

~ By Julian Pritcher

Pround to be a dancer

Senior Lindsay Bacik was proud to have the opportunity to dance for the Mummert family and their youngest child Noah, 7, who was diagnosed with cancer four years ago. 

~ By Brooke Owen

Organized Chaos

Shelby Nease and about 800 of her fellow Rules & Regulation committee members ensure that THON weekend goes off without a hitch. Between guarding entrances, working the with PASS system and enforcing the rules within the Bryce Jordan Center, they ensure safety and security for all those participating.

A sophomore and integrative arts major at Penn State, Nease fell in love with THON during her freshman year. Wanting to get more involved, she was inspired to join for the Rules and & Regulation committee. Nease and the rest of her committee members work as a security unit for the Bryce Jordan Center during THON weekend as well as having designated PASS teams. Nease worked about four shifts during her time at THON 2014, ranging from four to seven hours each. Nease said she believed it was all worth it and her feet didn't hurt too badly, stating that towards the end they were just "numb."

~By Cassandra Wiggins

More THON, please

Minutes before the announcement of the total amount raised by THON, junior Montana Stigger was dancing energetically with 15,000 other people in the Bryce Jordan Center. She said THON 2014 was the best yet and she wishes THON happened more often.

~ By Kelsey Lukas

Once their feet start hurting ...

Nick Schmidt is a senior at Penn State studying Athletic Training. Nick, like many other Penn State students, loves to participate in THON, but Nick does his part in a different way. As a member of the Athletic Training Club, Nick along with other trainers takes different shifts throughout THON weekend to support the dancers. They ice, stretch, and assist the dancers with any pain they might have in their legs while standing 46 hours for the kids.

~ By Dylan Nelson

Stayin' awake

Briana Brooks, a junior studying Human Development and Family Studies, has a plan on how to stay awake during her time at THON. 

~ By Donovan Quinn

Hard work pays off

Penn State freshman Matt Summerson spent more than 42 hours preparing for THON as a part of the Bryce Jordan Center's stage crew. After all his hard work was done he was able to go see THON come together for his first time.

~By Emily Martin

Gabriella Spero and Cru

Penn State senior Gabriella Spero is a nursing major who spent much of her time at Hershey Medical center her junior year, where she cared for children with cancer.  She found her place in the Cru community, which spreads the gospel and raises money for many causes including THON.

Cru is a community where the gospel captures hearts, transforms lives and launches men and women into a lifelong adventure with Jesus Christ. Penn State Cru is the Penn State chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ. Gabby has spent more than 30 hours at THON '14, and has had hands-on experience with pediatric cancer, dedicating many hours with the children at Hershey Medical Center.  Although it is her last THON as a student, she says she hopes to come back for many years in the future.

~ By Tyler Elder

The THON 2014 worker's lfestyle

Keyla Medrano is a hard working student and an experienced Subway employee at the Bryce Jordan Center. Today that meant working part of the crazy THON weekend. People usually only consider the dancer having a hard time during THON weekend, but workers have it just as bad. Things can get hectic, but she still manages to keep her spirit up and enjoy the atmosphere.

~ By Brodney Nicol


THON veteran becomes a spectator


Penn State Altoona senior Kristina Lora volunteered to work at THON for three years. This is her first year at THON as a spectator.

~ By Ashley Geohagen

Saying goodbye


Students from all over Penn State came together for 46 hours to celebrate THON. While this is an exciting time for first-time THON goers, for seniors Katie Hipple, Latiise Wilkins, and Emanuel Marques Pereria it meant saying goodbye.

~ By Alexandra Otero

Who needs sleep?

Kevin Vanbramer, a Rules and Regulations committee member, has been toiling away at THON for more than 30, doing tasks like checking bags and water bottles as people enter the Bryce Jordan Center. Not the most glamorous work, but it will give him a great seat to see the final miunutes of THON.

~ By Vince Weltz


No Hark Work Unnoticed

Penn State sophomore Laura Boyden has worked many long hours for the Apollo Rules and Regulations committee during THON Weekend.

~ Tygh Kane

Dancer: Exhausted, but she would do it again


Jaime Pritzker has been awake for 60 hours. Everything seems a little blurry, except the fact she's about to complete an experience she'll remember forever.

~ Jaime Pritzker

The view from R and R

Rules and Regulations Pass Team Captain Jill Caldwell brought her smartphone to the Bryce Jordan Center for THON weekend and used it to gather video for this report. She interviewed her co-captain, Sarah Ozark, and Student Nutrition Association dancer Katie Bridgens.

~ Jill Caldwell


Like Christmas

The operation committee Sean Rooney is involved with is responsible for setting up and tearing down the Bryce Jordan Center during THON weekend. Some of their duties include taking out trash, stocking bathrooms and most importantly keeping people hyped up.

~ By Darius Donelson

Math skills are the first to go

Members of Penn State's Blue & White Society have spent the last year canning, holding fundraisers and participating in various events on campus to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund. They help to sponsor two THON families, the Looses and the Demmys.

Part of the payoff is the opportunity to spend THON weekend in the alumni suite at the Bryce Jordan Center. Students like the society's logistics chair, senior Alissa Chessario, get to experience all the excitement of THON. They also get to feel the effects of a weekend of sleep deprivation.

~ By Victoria Faconti


Embracing the moment

Jaime  Pritzker comes from a Penn State family. In her fourth and final year as a student, she has been a part of THON for as long as she can remember. Her parents, her brother and her sister all went to Penn State.

She has been involved with THON all four years through her sorority, Delta Gamma, including THON 2013 when she drove three hours to State College to spend 20 straight hours in the stands cheering on the dancers before immediately heading to the airport to travel to Sydney, Australia for a semester abroad. Finally a dancer, she is dancing independently with one of her closest friends. (Jaime Pritzker filed this video report from THON on Saturday.)

~ By Frankie Greek

Dancer support improves with new pass system

The Dancer Support Pass is a conspicuous success this weekend for THON's Rules and Regulations committee. With a 30 minute time slot for two people to visit their dancer, the support system provides a late night/early morning break for dancers.

~By Cassie Hart

Play for big and small

Athlete Hour during THON is a time when hundreds of athletes at Penn State enter the South Gym in the BJC and interact with THON children and their families. It’s an opportunity for the athletes to meet and greet the families and play with the kids. There are games and crafts that the athletes set up and use as a tool to get to better know the kids. 

~ By Talia East

The Tech Behind It All

Behind THON is a system of complex computer systems keeping track of visitors and passes. Key componenets are technological -- like the Think network -- and human -- the countless volunteers involved with THON. Juan Munoz is a tech captain who's in charge of working on and maintaining these systems throughout THON weekend and making sure that everyone has a positive experience when receiving their passes and using the Think network.

~ by Matthew Faigman


About the Contributors

Brodney Nicol's photo

Brodney Nicol

Senior / Broadcasting/Journalism

I am currently a senior at The Pennsylvania State University. I will be graduating in August 2014, I have a strong passion for talk radio, multimedia production and television production. So far I have had experience with working at a student run radio station called ComRadio as well as The LION 90.7 FM. I’ve also have gotten the chance to intern for Forever Broadcasting as Promotions/Programming intern. After I graduate I hope to obtain a full time job position with the Entertainment/News industry where I can demonstrate my work experience and skills and gain strong valued networking connections along the way.

Alexandra Otero's photo

Alexandra Otero

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

  I am currently a graduating senior at Penn State University. My dreams and goals have changed so many times because life changes all the time as well. I originally dreamed of becoming a news anchor on CNN. I felt that reporting the news for millions to see was the ideal life I wanted to live. However, the classes at Penn State have changed my goals.

  I now have realized that I have more of a passion for people than the news in general. It is important to know that everyone has a story. Yet we have to pick the right audience to share it with. My dream is to share those stories. I want to bring their struggle, triumphs, laughs and cries to a new outlet which allows an unlimited amount of people to view. I want to break through the hard news barrier and report about people & events that impact lives.

  I appreciate the education I have received at Penn State. It has opened my eyes to so many news outlets that I never knew existed. It has shaped me into the woman I am today and I wouldn’t change it. WE ARE! 

Matthew Faigman's photo

Matthew Faigman

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Matthew Faigman is a Penn State senior majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in business in the liberal arts. The Coral Springs, Florida native is passionate about all sports but particularly enjoys ice hockey. He also enjoys working with video and photography. Matthew’s goal is to work for a sports media company creating sports based digital content.

TylerVanElder's photo


Senior / Telecommunications

Originally from Redlands, Ca. I am currently studying Telecommunications Management at Penn State University Park. I have worked with people in both the service and entertainment industries. I am currently designing a mobile application for IPhones with my colleague Casey Kurtyka(Senior-Comp Engr). For the past year I have managed P.R. for the entire project, hosted promotional events, and co-managed design and functionality of the app. I am a self-motivated, team oriented, passionate improviser with no set post-graduation plans so far.

Jaime Pritzker's photo

Jaime Pritzker

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Jaime Pritzker is from Bryn Mawr Pa. She is majoring in broadcast journalism, with minors in both business and international studies. At Penn State, Jaime is a production assistant and audio producer for B94.5 Morning Zoo radio station. She is also a member of Delta Gamma Fraternity. Upon graduation in May, Jaime wants to pursue a career in television production.

Tygh Kane's photo

Tygh Kane

Senior / Broadcast

Tygh Kane is a senior at The Pennsylvania State University where he majors in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in African Studies. Tygh aspires to land a career within the entertainment industry. Outside of journalism, Tygh enjoys creative writing and comedy writing.

Vincent Weltz's photo

Vincent Weltz

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Ever since I realized a 20 inch vertical was not going to get me
to the NBA, I have dreamt of a career in the field of sports journalism. Growing
up in the Philadelphia area I spent my entire childhood glued to the couch
watching ESPN and even shedding tears over Eagles losses until I was about 15 years
old. My devotion to sports is unmatched. Pair that with my passion
for writing and public speaking it’s no wonder I chose to major in Broadcast
journalism at Penn State to pursue my dreams. I am a young man with an intense
passion for my field, and more importantly a desire to learn and gain fruitful

Cassie Hart's photo

Cassie Hart

Senior / Broadcast Journalism/ International Studies

Cassie Hart is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism and International Studies with a minor in Business. Hailing from Warminster, Pennsylvania, she claims experience with the Daily Collegian as part of her communications background at Penn State University. Other past experiences include a Web Content Editing internship with Comcast Corporation, Corporate Communications Intern with Corning Incorporated, and Marketing Communication roles while studying abroad in London during Fall 2013. She has class experience in radio, television, and multimedia reporting and editing. Her dream to become “the next Diane Sawyer” slowly drifted throughout her academia where she found a passion for marketing communications. Working for a major corporation in their Marketing division and eventually pursuing an MBA rank top on her list of future careers.

Ashley Geohagen's photo

Ashley Geohagen

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Hi! My name is Ashley and I’m currently a senior at Penn State pursuing a major in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Business. My future goals, however, gravitate more towards the field of Public Relations. I have hopes of becoming a fashion PR specialist and owning my own company.

Emily Martin's photo

Emily Martin

Senior / Visual Journalism

Emily Martin is a senior at The Pennsylvania State University where she majors in visual journalism and minors in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management. She hopes to enter the entertainment event industry after graduation. Emily is also a photographer and writer for the music blog State In The Real.

Kelsey Lukas's photo

Kelsey Lukas

Senior / Broadcast journalism

My name is Kelsey Lukas, I’m from Collegeville, Pennsylvania. I am currently a broadcast journalism student at Penn State. I plan to graduate this summer after completing an internship with MoreHouse records.